Last Updated on October 25, 2020 by Calibre 11
The Ayrton Senna Formula 1 collection has two new additions, with the release of the 2020 Special Editions. There are two models offered this year- one with the Calibre 16 automatic movement, and the other with a quartz chronograph movement.
If you’re new to the history of Senna TAG Heuer watches, then check out our collector’s guide here, which traces the origin of the Senna series that began more than 25 years ago.
While the last few Senna Special Editions have consisted of both a Formula 1 and a Carrera, that’s not the case in 2020, with both models based on the Formula 1.
The 2020 Senna models each has a sunburst anthracite dial with yellow Senna highlights, echoing the bright yellow of Senna’s racing helmet. This colour scheme extends to the ceramic bezel, which has a yellow Senna “Double S” and “Senna” text. The anthracite dial is similar to the one offered on the 25th Anniversary Formula 1 Senna, but with the red highlights replaced by yellow.
One unusual aspect of the tachymeter bezel is that the scale starts allows for a maximum speed of 400km/h, rather than the 260 km/h that is usual for the Formula 1 (although it would be remiss not to point out that last year’s Senna F1 also had a 400 km/h marking). While F1 cars don’t reach this speed, the 400 km/h is used to signify the “pursuit of speed”. We covered the functionality of the tachymeter bezel in our article on the vintage Heuer Autavia:
[The Tachymeter is] perhaps the most iconic bezel given its direct link to motor racing. The tachymeter bezel is a logarithmic scale that measures units per time increment. For example, to measure average kilometres per hour in a traffic light drag race (ahem) you start the chronograph when you take off and then stop the chronograph once you have travelled one kilometre. Reading the units on the tachy bezel will tell you your average speed in km/h over that trip.
If the roads were clear and you wanted to time yourself over a second kilometre, you’d simply hand your Autavia to your passenger and at the one kilometre mark keep the chronograph running but note the elapsed time and then rotate the bezel until the silver triangle points to that time. Stop the chronograph after 2 kms and read the time off the scale that the chronograph hand is pointing to. It’s a brilliantly flexible scale, because it doesn’t matter if you want to measure in miles or kilometres- the tachymeter can handle both.Vintage Heuer Autavia- The Ultimate Collector’s Guide
The other new addition to the 2020 model is a new black calfskin leather strap which features the embossed shape of the bracelet link from the TAG Heuer S/el- Link series. The TAG Heuer S/el was Senna’s personal choice of watch back in the late 1980s/ early 1990s.
While you can tell at a glance that the Automatic and Quartz watches have different dials, they also have different cases, with the depth of the Automatic model being significantly thicker to accommodate the larger Calibre 16 movement (below right).
2020 Formula 1 Senna Automatic Chronograph- CAZ201B
The Calibre 16 Chronograph is based on the 44mm stainless steel F1 Chronograph. The watch uses a 12-6-9 dial layout, with yellow rings around the inside of 6 and 9 o’clock registers, while the 12 o’clock register features three yellow segments. The registers are in a contrasting black and feature the radial “azurage” patterning.
The other unique aspect of the automatic model are the yellow rings around the crown and upper-chronograph pusher- the quartz chronograph has neither.
The Calibre 16 uses polished stainless steel hands.
2020 Formula 1 Senna Quartz Chronograph- CAZ101AF
As we’d showed you above, the quartz chronograph may use a similar case to the automatic watch, but is considerably slimmer. Their case diameters are basically the same- 43mm for the quartz Chronograph vs. 44mm for the Calibre 16.
The other key difference is the dial, thanks to the quartz layout in the classical 3-6-9 pattern. All three registers have the same black azurage pattern, with yellow outer-rings on the 3 and 6 o’clock sub-dials, while the 9 o’clock dial features three yellow segments. Thanks to this layout, there is a large applied “12” at the 12 o’clock position on the quartz chronograph.
Both watches share the same stainless steel caseback, which case and screw-down caseback with special Senna engraving.
While the Calibre 16 uses polished steel hands, the quartz model features black hands.
Thanks to our friends at Steffans Jewellers, we can share with you these live photos of the new Senna duo- what’s obvious from these shots is how well the bright yellow highlights work with the steel-like anthracite dial.
Price and Availability
The 2020 TAG Heuer Senna Special Edition Formula 1 collection starts at US$2,100 for the Quartz chronograph on the Link-style bracelet, with the Calibre 16 on the leather strap costing US$3,200.
Both watches are available now from tagheuer.com or TAG Heuer Authorised Dealers.